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Not So Massively: Hi-Rez Reddit controversy, new MOBA Strife, and Dota 2 World Championship

Brendan Drain, @nyphur
August 12, 2013

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Controversy struck the Tribes: Ascend community this week as developer Hi-Rez Studios shut down the game's forum and told players to go to Reddit instead. Threads erupted on the third-party site asking for official Hi-Rez accounts to be banned from /r/Tribes. Dota 2's World Championship tournament got underway this week as top competitive teams from around the world fought for a slice of The International's $2.8 million US of prize money. And it looks like Heroes of Newerth has a companion on the way, as developer S2 Games recently revealed its new and potentially more casual MOBA Strife.

In a new video devblog, Elite: Dangerous creator David Braben discussed plans for ship passengers and luxury cruise liners in the upcoming space sandbox game. Diablo III Community Manager Grimiku hinted that developers are looking into the possibility of adding an official self-found mode, and Blizzard announced its plans for Gamescom 2013. Path of Exile wrapped up the end of its third season of race events and announced that seasons four and five are already in the planning stages. And Star Citizen's weekly updates focused on the upcoming Hangar module.

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Tribes: Ascend title image
Tribes: Ascend fans were up in arms this week as developer Hi-Rez Studios discontinued its forum support and directed players to third-party website Reddit without consulting the moderators of the subreddit. Many game studios have their community managers interact with the game's main subreddit to keep their fingers on pulse of the community and make announcements, but none has tried to use it as an official forum. To make matters worse, this controversy came on the back of shaky customer relations due to what's been characterized as unprofessional Reddit comments made by Tribes: Ascend community manager HiRezAPC.

Two huge threads erupted on /r/Tribes and /r/Games explaining the situation and asking moderators to ban all Hi-Rez employees from posting on the subreddit. A poll on the issue ended with 86% of respondents agreeing that Hi-Rez employees should be banned, but moderators decided not to take action. The Tribes: Ascend community's opinion of Hi-Rez appears to have taken a steep nosedive in the past year. Players have blamed poor game support, unresolved server issues, and a severe lack of patches since the company started working on SMITE.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Heroes of Newerth players have probably noticed that development has slowed down in recent years but may not have known why. The reason became apparent today as developer S2 Games revealed that it has been working on a new game all this time. The new game is titled Strife, and in an unexpected turn of events, it's actually another MOBA. The game boasts a resource system, pets, crafting, and community features that aren't found in Heroes of Newerth.

Strife aims to make people invest in individual heroes more by allowing heroes to take up multiple roles and having players choose the hero before entering matchmaking. Rise of Immortals saw early success with this gameplay strategy but then revamped to a standard lobby picking system shortly before closing its doors for good. The reactions from Heroes of Newerth players has been mixed, with some feeling betrayed that development time was being spent on another MOBA and others viewing Strife as a potentially more casual companion to HoN.

Dota 2 title image
The Dota 2 World Championship tournament, The International, took place all this week from August 7th to 11th. Saturday saw Swedish team Alliance (formerly known as No Tidehunter) dominate in the winner's bracket, securing a place in the grand final with a 2-0 whitewash against 2011's tournament winner Na'Vi. Last year's champion, Invictus Gaming, was knocked out of the tournament by Chinese team TongFu, which went on to lose its shot at reaching the grand finals to talented Malaysian squad Orange.Neolution.

Last night saw Orange and Na'Vi face off in a tense match for a place in the grand final against Alliance. Na'Vi was favourite to win last year but has faced stiff competition this year due in part to over $2.8 million US being on the line, and Orange has recently been taking the competitive scene by storm. Na'Vi managed to secure a place in the grand final, producing some of the most intense and unpredictable matches in the tournament's three-year history. With $1.6 million US at stake, the winner of The International 2013 came down to a single winner-takes-all match.

Star Citizen title image
This week's Star Citizen updates focused on the upcoming Hangar module, with two galleries full of hangar concept art and a special look at the hangar being developed at the start of Wingman's Hangar. In the video below, developers also showed off some presents from fans and took the time to answer a whole slew of gameplay questions on everything from locking down jump-points to modifying engines.

Elite: Dangerous title image
Elite creator David Braben got behind the camera this week for the fifth Elite: Dangerous video dev diary, which this time focused on ship passengers. Passengers were first seen in Frontier: Elite II, in which the player could take contracts to ferry people from one system to another in generic cabins. Elite: Dangerous aims to revamp this with a new type of dedicated luxury liner ship that allows players to pick up a small number of extremely high-paying guests like a luxury cruise in real life.

There are also plans to add interesting high-profile passengers like royalty, diplomats, and notable criminals whose conveyance could post a risk to pilots. There may even be galactic tourists who want to go on planned trips around multiple locations or take a return trip to a specific resort. Braben also goes on to answer questions from fans on topics like flying ships through a planet's rings, destroying NPC capital ships, construction shipyards, and Elite: Dangerous' position as a hardcore game in a growing casual market.

Diablo III title image
Blizzard has released its schedule for GamesCom 2013, which includes a hands-on playtest with the console version of Diablo III, live performances of some of the game music, and a Diablo costume contest. The event will also feature roundtable discussions with Blizzard's community team and a special roundtable for video creators and streamers.

With auction house prices spiraling out of control and rampant inflation devaluing gold by the minute, many players have started adding challenge by building characters using only items they find themselves. Community Manager Grimiku commented on the idea in the forum this week, confirming that the team is thinking about self-found gameplay and hinting that it may be introduced as an official mode in the future.

Path of Exile title image
Path of Exile's third race season is drawing to a close, marking the end of a huge series of unique events and ladders with huge prizes. Don't worry if you missed out on the events, however, as developers are already working on some new and interesting events for seasons four and five!

Join us every Monday for Not So Massively, our roundup of the top news from popular online games that aren't quite MMOs. If you think there's a game we should be covering in Not So Massively or you've found some interesting news you think deserves attention in the next roundup, please mail the details to

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